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Home » IMPORTANT NEWS ANALYSIS FOR UPSC 22 SEP'16

IMPORTANT NEWS ANALYSIS FOR UPSC 22 SEP'16

ACHIEVERS IAS ACADEMY

22 SEP 2016

NEWS ANALYSIS: 

Development of Islands

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, chaired a high-level meeting to review the steps towards holistic development of islands. 
  • India has a total of 1382 offshore islands, out of which officials have initially proposed 26, which could be considered for holistic development.
  • These 26 islands are located along different parts of India’s coastline, including some in the Andamans and Lakshadweep.
  • Developmental activities shall be centred around basic infrastructure, tourism, agriculture (including organic agriculture and fisheries), and carbon-neutral energy generation.

 

Budget:

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposals of Ministry of Finance on certain landmark budgetary reforms relating to

(i) the merger of Railway budget with the General budget,

 (ii) the advancement of the date of Budget presentation from the last day of February

 (iii) the merger of the Plan and the Non-Plan classification in the Budget and Accounts. All these changes will be put into effect simultaneously from the Budget 2017-18.

Details:

1. The merger of Railway budget with the General budget:

The presentation of separate Railway budget started in the year 1924, and has continued after independence as a convention rather than under Constitutional provisions.

The merger would help in the following ways:

  • The presentation of a unified budget will bring the affairs of the Railways to centre stage and present a holistic picture of the financial position of the Government.
  • The merger is also expected to reduce the procedural requirements and instead bring into focus, the aspects of delivery and good governance
  • Consequent to the merger, the appropriations for Railways will form part of the main Appropriation Bill.

 

2. Advancement of the Budget presentation:

Advancement of the date of Budget presentation from the last day of February to a suitable date.

The exact date of presentation of Budget for 2017-18 would be decided keeping in view the date of assembly elections to be held in States.

This would help in following ways:

  • The advancement of budget presentation by a month and completion of Budget related legislative business before 31st March would pave the way for early completion of Budget cycle and enable Ministries and Departments to ensure better planning and execution of schemes from the beginning of the financial year and utilization of the full working seasons including the first quarter.
  •  This will also preclude the need for seeking appropriation through 'Vote on Account' and enable implementation of the legislative changes in tax; laws for new taxation measures from the beginning of the financial year.

3. Merger of Plan and Non Plan classification in Budget and Accounts:

The third proposal approved by the Cabinet relates to the merger of Plan and Non Plan classification in Budget and Accounts from 2017-18, with continuance of earmarking of funds for Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan/Tribal Sub-Plan. Similarly, the allocations for North Eastern States will also continue.

This would help in resolving the following issues:

  • The Plan/Non-Plan bifurcation of expenditure has led to a fragmented view of resource allocation to various schemes, making it difficult not only to ascertain cost of delivering a service but also to link outlays to outcomes.
  • The bias in favour of Plan expenditure by Centre as well as the State Governments has led to a neglect of essential expenditures on maintenance of assets and other establishment related expenditures for providing essential social services.
  • The merger of plan and non-plan in the budget is expected to provide appropriate budgetary framework having focus on the revenue, and capital expenditure.

 

River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016 

 

 The Order envisages:

 

1. Creation of the National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management), as an Authority under the Chairperson of Hon’ble Prime Minister, in place of the existing NGRBA for overall responsibility for superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of river Ganga Basin.

 

2.  Setting up of an Empowered Task Force chaired by Hon’ble Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to ensure that the Ministries, Departments and State Governments concerned have:.

 

3. Declaration of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) as an Authority with powers to issue directions and also to exercise the powers under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to enable it to carry out efficiently its mandate. 

 

The NMCG will have a two-tier management structure with a Governing Council (GC) and Executive Committee (EC) constituted out of the GC.

 

 

4.  At the State level, it is proposed to create the State Ganga Committees in each of the defined States as Authority, Similarly, the District Ganga Committees will do  

 

 

 

 

 

Optical fibre amoxicillin al 1000 cable connectivity between mainland (Chennai) and Andaman & Nicobar Islands 

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for provision of a direct communication link through a dedicated submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) between Mainland (Chennai) and Port Blair & amoxicillin al 1000 five other islands viz. Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Havelock, Kamorta and Great Nicobar.

Why Connectivity?

Provision of secure, reliable, robust, and affordable telecom facilities in these islands is of importance from a strategic point of view to the country and also an important requirement for the socio-economic development of the islands.

Currently the only medium of providing telecom connectivity between Mainland and Andaman & Nicobar Islands is though satellites, but the bandwidth available is limited to 1 Gbps.

Satellite bandwidth is very costly and its availability is limited due to which future bandwidth requirement cannot be met solely through it.

Then, there is an issue of redundancy, that is, no alternate media is available in case of any emergency.

Lack of bandwidth and telecom connectivity is also hampering socio-economic development of the islands. Hence it is essential to have submarine OFC connectivity between the Mainland India and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, being the only option for catering to projected future bandwidth requirements.

 

Admirability Bill, 2016

 

This legislative proposal will fulfil a long-standing demand of the maritime legal fraternity. The salient features are as follows:-

 

  • The Bill confers admiralty jurisdiction on High Courts located in coastal states of India and this jurisdiction extends upto territorial waters.
  • The jurisdiction is extendable, by a Central Government notification, upto exclusive economic zone or any other maritime zone of India or islands constituting part of the territory of India.

·    It applies to every vessel irrespective of place of residence or domicile of owner.

·    Inland vessels and vessels under construction are excluded from its application but the Central Government is empowered to make it applicable to these vessels also by a notification if necessary.

·    It does not apply to warships and naval auxiliary and vessels used for non-commercial purposes.

·    The jurisdiction is for adjudicating on a set of maritime claims listed in the Bill.

·    In order to ensure security against a maritime claim a vessel can be arrested in certain circumstances.

·    The liability in respect of selected maritime claims on a vessel passes on to its new owners by way ofmaritime liens subject to a stipulated time limit.

·    In respect of aspects on which provisions are not laid down in the Bill, the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 is applicable.

 

Background:

 

India is a leading maritime nation and maritime transportation caters to about ninety-five percent of its merchandise trade volume. However, under the present statutory framework, the admiralty jurisdiction of Indian courts flow from laws enacted in the British era. Admiralty jurisdiction relates to powers of the High Courts in respect of claims associated with transport by sea and navigable waterways. The repealing of five admiralty statutes is in line with the Government's commitment to do away with archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.

 

 

Rafale deal cleared

  • The government has cleared the much anticipated deal with France for 36 Rafale fighter jets which will cost 7.878 billion Euros.
  • Defence sources said that deal for the aircraft, the first fighter jet deal in 20 years, comes with a saving of nearly 750 million Euros than the UPA era one, which was scrapped by the Narendra Modi government.
  • The French side had quoted a price of 8.6 billion Euros in January following which India amoxicillin refused to sign the contract. 
  • This means business worth at least three billion Euros for Indian companies, both big and small, and generating hundreds of jobs in India through offsets. 
  • The Rafale fighter jets, deliveries of which will start in 36 months and finished in 66 months from the date contract is inked, comes equipped with state-of-the-art missiles like Meteor and Scalp that will give the IAF a capability that had been sorely missing in its arsenal. 
  • The "vanila price" (just the 36 aircraft) is about 3.42 billion Euros. The armaments cost about 710 million Euros while Indian specific changes, including integration of Israeli helmet mounted displays, will cost 1700 million Euros. 
  • Rest of the cost include spare parts, maintenance among others. 
  • Pakistan currently has only a BVR with 80 km range. During the Kargil war, India used a BVR of 50 km while Pakistan had none. With Meteor, the balance of power in the air space has again tilted in India's favour. 
  • Scalp, a long-range air-to-ground cruise missile with a range in excess of 300 km also gives the IAF an edge over its adversaries. 
  • The tough negotiations by the MoD-IAF team extracted many concessions and discounts from the French before arriving at a price that is almost 750 million Euros less than what was being quoted by the French side in January 2016. 
  • To bring down the cost, the India asked French officials to calculate the deal on actual cost (Price as on today) plus European Inflation Indices. 
  • The Defence Ministry has capped the European Inflation Indices to maximum 3.5 per cent a year. In other words, if inflation Indices goes down, India will have to pay less. Even if it goes up India will not pay more than 3.5 per cent increase, sources said. 
  • Three other concessions include free training for nine IAF personnel, including three pilots besides additional guarantee for 60 hours of usage of training aircraft for Indian pilots and six months of free weapons storage without charge (in case the Indian infrastructure is not ready for storing the weapons).